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July 14, 2020
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Historic Office Building in Downtown L.A. Hits the Market


Farmers & Merchants Bank, a historic, 16.4k sf creative office property in downtown Los Angeles, has been listed for sale. The property, located at 401 S. Main St, at the corner with Fourth in the historic core of the Downtown Los Angeles Financial District, is being offered for $7.5 mil ($457/sf).

Built in 1904 and renovated in 2012, the property is situated two blocks from Grand Central Market and a metro stop. The well-maintained freestanding building has been vacant for more than 30 years and has been used intermittently for movie shoots, meeting and banquet space. It is listed by the city as Historic Cultural Monument 271.

Patrick Barnes and Hayden Eaves with Avison Young have been awarded the listing. According to Eaves, more than 3,500 residential units surround the asset within a two-block radius, making this a very rare creative space opportunity for an owner/user who wants to tap into a young workforce looking to live and work within walking distance.

“This building not only offers a new owner the ability to create a unique identity and elevate its brand, it also features abundant parking and is surrounded by more than $1 billion in development activity. This asset is positioned to not only reap the benefits of its prime location now, but down the road as the area continues to see business, population and amenities multiply,” adds Barnes. “The buyer will own a unique piece of LA history that is ideally situated amid restaurants, bars, and galleries that cater to business professionals, urban dwellers, and visitors alike.”

The Avison Young listing team believes that the space will be especially attractive to a variety of growing industries that have been choosing to make downtown their home over recent years including entertainment, architecture, advertising, production, etc. There is also the potential to add a retail element to the ground floor space as well.

The Farmers & Merchant Bank was one of the first banks to be incorporated in LA’s burgeoning Financial District of the early 20th century, the ‘Wall Street of the West,’ and is poised to enjoy the benefits of strong tenant demand, population growth and more than $30 bil of investment over the past 20 years in downtown. The granite-clad building, situated on a .15-acre lot, was designed in an elegant neoclassical style by Morgan and Walls, one of the Los Angeles’ earliest and most distinguished architectural firms.

The three-story (mezzanine, one-story, and basement) commercial building is clad in hewn granite with a polished granite base and features a flat roof with a tall parapet that surrounds a barrel-vaulted skylight. Paired columns on marble pedestals, topped with Corinthian capitals, frame tall, arched apertures on the lower story of the center bays. The property also includes 66 parking spaces in an adjacent parking structure.

The Farmers & Merchants Bank building is classified under the Mills Act as a historic registered building. It is noteworthy for the lending institution’s longevity (from 1871 to 1952) and stability during a time of meteoric growth for the City of Los Angeles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It remains one of Southern California's finest examples of the early "temples of finance" which were popular at the turn of the century.

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